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Himalayas
Range
The north face of Mount Everest as seen from the path to the base camp in Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China.
Countries Bhutan, People's Republic of China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Burma, Afghanistan
Highest point Mount Everest
 - elevation 8,848 m (29,029 ft)
 - coordinates 27°59′17″N 86°55′31″E / 27.98806°N 86.92528°E / 27.98806; 86.92528

The Himalaya Range (Sanskrit: literally, "abode of snow", हिमालय, IPA pronunciation: [hɪ'mɑlijə]), or Himalayas for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. By extension, it is also the name of a massive mountain system that includes the Karakoram, the Hindu Kush, and other, lesser, ranges that extend out from the Pamir Knot.

Together, the Himalayan mountain system is the planet's highest and home to the world's highest peaks, the Eight-thousanders, which include Mount Everest and K2. To comprehend the enormous scale of this mountain range, consider that Aconcagua, in the Andes, at 6,962 metres (22,841 ft) is the highest peak outside Asia, whereas the Himalayan system includes over 100 mountains exceeding 7,200 m (23,622 ft).[1]

Some of the world's major rivers, Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Red River (Asia), Xunjiang, Chao Phraya, Irrawaddy River, Amu Darya, Syr Darya, Tarim River and Yellow River, rise in the Himalayas, and their combined drainage basin is home to some 3 billion people almost half of earth population in countries which includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, People's Republic of China, India, Nepal, Burma, Cambodia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia and Pakistan.

The Himalayas have profoundly shaped the cultures of South Asia; many Himalayan peaks are sacred in both Hinduism and Buddhism. The main Himalaya range runs, west to east, from the Indus river valley to the Brahmaputra river valley, forming an arc 2,400 km (1,491 mi) long, which varies in width from 400 km (249 mi) in the western Kashmir-Xinjiang region to 150 km (93 mi) in the eastern Tibet-Arunachal Pradesh region. The range consists of three coextensive sub-ranges, with the northern-most, and highest, known as the Great or Inner Himalayas.

Contents

Ecology

K2, on the border of Pakistan and People's Republic of China
Kangchenjunga, on the border of Nepal and Sikkim, India

The flora and fauna of the Himalayas varies with climate, rainfall, altitude, and soils. The climate ranges from tropical at the base of the mountains to permanent ice and snow at the highest elevations. The amount of yearly rainfall increases from west to east along the front of the range. This diversity of climate, altitude, rainfall and soil conditions generates a variety of distinct plant and animal communities.

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Lowland forests

On the Indo-Gangetic plain at the base of the mountains, an alluvial plain drained by the Indus and Ganga-Brahmaputra river systems, vegetation varies from west to east with rainfall. The xeric Northwestern thorn scrub forests occupy the plains of Pakistan and the Indian Punjab. Further east lie the Upper Gangetic plains moist deciduous forests of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh and Lower Gangetic plains moist deciduous forests of Bihar and West Bengal. These are monsoon forests, with drought-deciduous trees that lose their leaves during the dry season. The moister Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen forests occupy the plains of Assam.

The Terai belt

Above the alluvial plain lies the Terai strip, a seasonally marshy zone of sand and clay soils. The Terai has higher rainfall than the plains, and the downward-rushing rivers of the Himalaya slow down and spread out in the flatter Terai zone, depositing fertile silt during the monsoon season, and receding in the dry season. The Terai has a high water table due to groundwater percolating down from the adjacent zone. The central part of the Terai belt is occupied by the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands, a mosaic of grasslands, savannas, deciduous and evergreen forests that includes some of the world's tallest grasslands. The grasslands of the Terai belt are home to the Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis).

Bhabhar belt

Above the Terai belt is an upland zone known as the Bhabhar, a zone of porous and rocky soils, made up of debris washed down from the higher ranges. The Bhabhar and the lower Shiwalik ranges have a subtropical climate. The Himalayan subtropical pine forests occupy the western end of the subtropical belt, with forests dominated by Chir Pine (Pinus roxburghii). The central part of the range is home to the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests, dominated by the sal tree (Shorea robusta). They are at the foot of the Himalayas where the Himalayan streams descend on to the plains.

Shiwalik Hills

Also called Churia or Margalla Hills, Sivalik Hills is an intermittent outermost range of foothills extending across the Himalayan region through Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bhutan. This region consists of many sub-ranges. Summits are generally 600 to 1,200 metres (2,000 to 3,900 ft). Steeper southern slopes form along a fault zone called Himalayan Frontal Thrust (HFT); northern slopes are gentler. Permeable conglomerates and other rocks allow rainwater to percolate downslope into the Bhabhar and Terai, supporting only scrubby forests upslope. The Himalayan subtropical pine and broadleaf forests continue here.

Inner Terai or Dun Valleys

The Inner Terai valleys are open valleys north of Shiwalik Hills or nestled between Shiwalik subranges. Examples include Dehra Dun in India and Chitwan in Nepal. Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests grow here.

Lesser Himalaya

Also called Mahabharat Range, the Lesser Himalayas is a prominent range 2,000 to 3,000 metres (6,600 to 9,800 ft) high formed along the Main Boundary Thrust fault zone, with a steep southern face and gentler northern slopes. They are nearly continuous except for river gorges, where rivers from to the north gather like candelabra in a handful of places to to break through the range.

At these elevations and above the biogeography of the Himalayas is generally divided by the Kali Gandaki Gorge in central Nepal, one of the deepest canyons in the world.

At the middle elevations of the range, the subtropical forests yield to a belt of temperate broadleaf and mixed forests growing between 1,500 and 3,000 metres (4,900 and 9,800 ft), with the western Himalayan broadleaf forests to the west of the Gandaki River, and the eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests to the east. The western broadleaf forests stretch from the Kashmir Valley, across Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and through western Nepal. The eastern broadleaf forests stretch across eastern Nepal, through Sikkim and Bhutan, and through much of Arunachal Pradesh.

Midlands

This 'hilly' region (Pahad), averaging about 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) immediately north of the Mahabharat Range, rises over about 100 kilometres (330,000 ft) to about 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) at the Main Central Thrust fault zone, where the Greater Himalaya begin.

Above the broadleaf forests, between 3,000 and 4,000 metres (9,800 and 13,000 ft), are temperate coniferous forests, likewise split by the Gandaki River. The western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests are found below treeline in northern Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and western Nepal. The eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests are found in eastern Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Arunachal Pradesh. Along the border between Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet, the eastern subalpine conifer forests mix with the northeastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests. East Himalayan Fir, West Himalayan Spruce, are some Himalayan Hemlock important trees of these forests. Rhododendrons are exceptionally diverse here, with over 60 species recorded in the northeastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests.

Greater Himalaya

North of the Main Central Thrust, the highest ranges rise abruptly as much as 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) into the realm of perpetual snow and ice. As the Himalayan system becomes wider from east to west, the number of parallel high ranges increases. For example, Kagmara and Kanjiroba ranges both reach well over 6,000 metres (20,000 ft) north of the Dhaulagiri Himalaya in central Nepal.

Montane grasslands and shrublands grow above treeline. The northwestern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows are found in the high elevations of northern Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh. To the east, the western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows cover extensive areas along the Tibetan border with Uttarakhand and western Nepal. The eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows grow above the eastern and northeastern subalpine conifer forests, along the Tibetan border with eastern Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Arunachal Pradesh. The shrublands are composed of junipers as well as a wide variety of rhododendrons. They also possess a remarkable variety of wildflowers: Valley of Flowers National Park in the western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows contains hundreds of species. The upper limit of the grasslands increases from west to east, rising from 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) to 5,500 metres (18,000 ft). The grasslands are the summer habitat of the endangered snow leopard (Uncia uncia).

Trans-Himalaya

The watershed between rivers flowing south into the Ganges or Indus and rivers flowing north into the Brahmaputra or mainstem Indus that flow around the ends of the entire range often follows somewhat lower, less rugged mountains tens of kilometers north of the highest ranges. South-flowing rivers form valleys in this region, often semi-arid due to rainshadow effects. These valleys hold some of the highest permanent villages on earth.

Origins and growth

The 6,000 km plus journey of the India landmass (Indian Plate) before its collision with Asia (Eurasian Plate) about 40 to 50 million years ago

The Himalayas are among the youngest mountain ranges on the planet, and consist mostly of uplifted sedimentary and metamorphic rock. According to the modern theory of plate tectonics, their formation is a result of a continental collision or orogeny along the convergent boundary between the Indo-Australian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. This is referred to as a fold mountain.

The collision began in the Upper Cretaceous period about 70 million years ago, when the north-moving Indo-Australian Plate, moving at about 15 cm per year, collided with the Eurasian Plate. About 50 million years ago, this fast moving Indo-Australian plate had completely closed the Tethys Ocean, the existence of which has been determined by sedimentary rocks settled on the ocean floor, and the volcanoes that fringed its edges. Since these sediments were light, they crumpled into mountain ranges rather than sinking to the floor. The Indo-Australian plate continues to be driven horizontally below the Tibetan plateau, which forces the plateau to move upwards. The Arakan Yoma highlands in Myanmar and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal were also formed as a result of this collision.

The Indo-Australian plate is still moving at 67 mm per year, and over the next 10 million years it will travel about 1,500 km into Asia. About 20 mm per year of the India-Asia convergence is absorbed by thrusting along the Himalaya southern front. This leads to the Himalayas rising by about 5 mm per year, making them geologically active. The movement of the Indian plate into the Asian plate also makes this region seismically active, leading to earthquakes from time to time.

Glaciers and river systems

Glaciers near K2 in the People's Republic of China and Pakistan
This image shows the termini of the glaciers in the Bhutan-Himalaya. Glacial lakes have been forming rapidly on the surface of the debris-covered glaciers in this region during the last few decades.
River systems of the Himalayas and Hindu Kush

The Himalayan range encompasses about 15,000 glaciers, which store about 12,000 km3 of freshwater. The 70 km-long Siachen Glacier at the India-Pakistan border is the second longest glacier in the world outside the polar region. Some of the other more famous glaciers include the Gangotri and Yamunotri (Uttarakhand), Nubra, Biafo and Baltoro (Karakoram region), Zemu (Sikkim) and Khumbu glaciers (Mount Everest region).

The higher regions of the Himalayas are snowbound throughout the year, in spite of their proximity to the tropics, and they form the sources for several large perennial rivers, most of which combine into two large river systems:

  • The western rivers combine into the Indus Basin, of which the Indus River is the largest. The Indus begins in Tibet at the confluence of Sengge and Gar rivers and flows southwest through India and then through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea. It is fed by the Jhelum, the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, and the Sutlej rivers, among others.

The eastern-most Himalayan rivers feed the Ayeyarwady River, which originates in eastern Tibet and flows south through Myanmar to drain into the Andaman Sea.

The Salween, Mekong, Yangtze and the Huang He (Yellow River) all originate from parts of the Tibetan plateau that are geologically distinct from the Himalaya mountains, and are therefore not considered true Himalayan rivers. Some geologists refer to all the rivers collectively as the circum-Himalayan rivers.[3] In recent years, scientists have monitored a notable increase in the rate of glacier retreat across the region as a result of global climate change.[4] Although the effect of this will not be known for many years, it potentially could mean disaster for the hundreds of millions of people who rely on the glaciers to feed the rivers of northern India during the dry seasons.[5]

Lakes

A high Himalayan lake at an altitude of around 5,000 metres Sikkim, India

The Himalaya region is dotted with hundreds of lakes. Most lakes are found at altitudes of less than 5,000 m, with the size of the lakes diminishing with altitude. The largest lake is the Pangong Tso, which is spread across the border between India and China. It is situated at an altitude of 4,600 m, and is 8 km wide and nearly 134 km long. A notable high (but not the highest) lake is the Gurudogmar in North Sikkim, at an altitude of 5,148 m (17,100 ft) (altitude source: SRTM). Other major lakes include the Tsongmo lake, near the Indo-China border in Sikkim, and Tilicho lake in Nepal in the Annapurna massif, a large lake in an area that was closed to tourists until recently.

The mountain lakes are known to geographers as tarns if they are caused by glacial activity. Tarns are found mostly in the upper reaches of the Himalaya, above 5,500 metres. For more information about these, see here.

Impact on climate

Pass in Ladakh with the typical Buddhist prayer flags and chorten

The Himalayas have a profound effect on the climate of the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan plateau. They prevent frigid, dry Arctic winds blowing south into the subcontinent, which keeps South Asia much warmer than corresponding temperate regions in the other continents. It also forms a barrier for the monsoon winds, keeping them from traveling northwards, and causing heavy rainfall in the Terai region. The Himalayas are also believed to play an important part in the formation of Central Asian deserts, such as the Taklamakan and Gobi.

The mountain ranges also prevent western winter disturbances in Iran from traveling further, resulting in snow in Kashmir and rainfall for parts of Punjab and northern India. Despite being a barrier to the cold, northernly winter winds, the Brahmaputra valley receives part of the frigid winds, thus lowering the temperature in the North East India and Bangladesh.

The Himalayas, which are often called "The Roof of the World", contain the greatest area of glaciers and permafrost outside of the poles. Ten of Asia’s largest rivers flow from here, and more than a billion people’s livelihoods depend on them. To complicate matters, temperatures are rising more rapidly here than the global average. In Nepal, the temperature has risen 0.6 degree C over the last decade, whereas the global warming has been around 0.7 degree C over the last hundred years.[6]

Mountain passes

The Himalayan range at Yumesongdong in Sikkim, in the Yumthang River valley

The rugged terrain makes few routes through the mountains possible. Some of these routes include:

Impact on politics and culture

Mountain sheds like these are used by the rural populace as shelter for cattle in summer months as they take them for grazing in higher altitudes.

It should be noted that almost half of the humans and livestock of India live on one-third of the landscape within 500 km of the Himalayan range.(pdf, 3mb)

The Himalayas, due to their large size and expanse, have been a natural barrier to the movement of people for tens of thousands of years. In particular, this has prevented intermingling of people from the Indian subcontinent with people from China and Mongolia, causing significantly different languages and customs between these regions. The Himalayas have also hindered trade routes and prevented military expeditions across its expanse. For instance, Genghis Khan could not expand his empire south of the Himalayas into the subcontinent.

Notable peaks of the Himalayan system (includes outlying ranges)

Peak Name Other names and meaning Elevation (m) Elevation (ft) First Western ascent Notes
Everest Sagarmatha (Nepali), "Head of the World",[7]
Chomolangma (Tibetan), "Goddess mother of the snows"[7]
8,848 29,035.44 1953 Highest mountain on Earth, on the border between Nepal and Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China.
K2 Chogo Gangri 8,611 28,251 1954 2nd highest mountain on Earth. Located on the border between the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County of Xinjiang, People's Republic of China and the Northern Areas of Pakistan.
Kangchenjunga Kangchen Dzö-nga, "Five Treasures of the Great Snow" 8,586 28,169 1955 3rd highest mountain on Earth. Located on the border between Nepal and Sikkim, India.
Lhotse "South Peak" 8,516 27,940 1956 4th highest mountain on Earth. Situated between Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China, and Nepal, in the shadow of Mount Everest.
Makalu "The Great Black" 8,462 27,765 1955 5th highest mountain on Earth. Situated on the border between, Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China and Nepal.
Cho Oyu Qowowuyag, "Turquoise Goddess" 8,201 26,905 1954 6th highest mountain on Earth. Situated on the border between Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China, and Nepal
Dhaulagiri "White Mountain" 8,167 26,764 1960 7th highest mountain on Earth. Situated in Nepal.
Manaslu Kutang, "Mountain of the Spirit" 8,156 26,758 1956 8th highest mountain on Earth. Located in the Gurkha Himal, Nepal.
Nanga Parbat Diamir, "Naked Mountain" 8,126 26,660 1953 9th highest mountain on Earth. Located in the Northern Areas of Pakistan.
Annapurna "Goddess of the Harvests" 8,091 26,545 1950 10th highest mountain on Earth. Situated in Nepal.
Gasherbrum I "Beautiful Mountain" 8,080 26,509 1958 11th highest mountain on Earth. Located in the Karakoram of Pakistan
Broad Peak Faichan Kangri 8,047 26,401 1957 12th highest mountain on Earth. Located in the Karakoram of Pakistan.
Gasherbrum II - 8,035 26,362 1956 13th highest mountain on Earth. Located in the Karakoram of Pakistan.
Shishapangma Xixiabangma, "Crest Above The Grassy Plains" 8,013 26,289 1964 14th highest mountain on Earth. Located in Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China.
Gyachung Kang unknown 7,952 26,089 1964 15th highest mountain on Earth. Located on the border between Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China, and Nepal, it is the highest mountain under 8,000 meters.
Gasherbrum IV - 7,925 26,001 1958 17th highest mountain on Earth. Located in the Karakoram of Pakistan.
Masherbrum unknown 7,821 25,660 1960 22nd highest mountain on Earth. Located in the Karakoram of Pakistan.
Nanda Devi "Bliss-giving Goddess" 7,817 25,645 1936 23rd highest mountain on Earth. Located in Uttarakhand, India. It is the highest peak entirely within India.
Rakaposhi "Shining Wall" 7,788 25,551 1958 A massive peak that towers above local terrain. Located in the Pakistani Karakoram.
Gangkhar Puensum Gankar Punzum, "Three Mountain Siblings" 7,570 24,836 Unclimbed World's highest unclimbed peak remains off limits to mountaineers. Located in the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Ama Dablam "Mother And Her Necklace" 6,848 22,467 1961 Considered by some to be one of the most beautiful peaks in the Himalayas. Located in the Khumbu, Nepal.

Panorama

2004 photo mosaic the Himalayas with Makalu and Mount Everest from the International Space Station, Expedition 8.
A panorama of Garhwal Himalaya from Dhanaulti,India

Notable Himalayan mountaineers

  • Santosh Yadav is the first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest twice, and the first woman to successfully climb Mt Everest from the Kangshung Face.She first climbed the peak in May 1992, and then did it again in May 1993.
  • George Mallory (1886–1924) Attempted first ascent of Mount Everest; died on North Face.
  • Noel Odell (1890–1987) British. First ascent, in 1936, of Nanda Devi, which remained the highest summited peak until 1950.
  • Bill Tilman (1898–1977) British. First ascent of Nanda Devi in 1936. In 1934, first person to penetrate Nanda Devi sanctuary
  • Frank Smythe (1900–1949) British. Mount Blank, Kamet, and early attempt on Kangchenjunga.
  • Eric Shipton (1907–1977) British. With Bill Tilman, first to penetrate Nanda Devi sanctuary. Discovered route to Everest over Khumbu Glacier.
  • John Hunt (1910–1998) British. Leader of 1953 expedition of Mount Everest.
  • Tenzing Norgay (1914–1986) Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer. First man on Everest's summit along with Edmund Hillary.
  • Maurice Herzog (b. 1919) First person to summit an Eight-thousander, Annapurna, in 1950. Lost all toes and most fingers due to frostbite. Peak not climbed again until 1970.
  • Sir Edmund Hillary (1919–2008) New Zealand mountaineer and explorer, the first man on Everest's summit along with Tenzing Norgay.
  • Tom Bourdillon (1924–1956) member of British Everest expeditions 1951, 1952, and 1953, reached 300 feet (90 m) from summit of Everest three days before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay finally conquered it.
  • Hermann Buhl (1924–1957) First ascent of Nanga Parbat in 1953 (feat accomplished solo and without oxygen). First ascent of Broad Peak. Died in fall on Chogolisa, body never found.
  • Willi Unsoeld (1926–1979) United States. First ascent of Everest from West Face and first major traverse of a Himalayan peak, with Tom Hornbein 1963. Daughter Nanda Devi Unsoeld killed during Nanda Devi expedition 1976. Died during avalanche on Mount Rainier, 1979.
  • Chris Bonington (b. 1934) First ascent of Annapurna (South Face), 4 ascents of Everest.
  • Nawang Gombu (b. 1936) Indian mountaineer. First person to climb Everest twice: 1963 and 1965.
  • Jim Whittaker (b. 1936) United States. First American to summit Everest.
  • Reinhold Messner (born 1944) Italian mountaineer. First man to climb all fourteen mountains over 8000 meters (collectively known as the eight-thousanders).
  • Jerzy Kukuczka (1948–1989) Polish mountaineer. Ascended all fourteen eight-thousanders faster than anybody else, establishing ten new routes.
  • Nazir Sabir Pakistani mountaineer. First ascent of two eight thousanders (Broad Peak & Gasherbrum II) in a single attempt.
  • Swami Sundaranand (b. 1926 India) Climbed 25 mountains with little or no equipment from 1950-1990 to experience open eyed Samādhi using the ancient techniques of the Himalayan yogis. Noted also for his extensive photography of the Indian Himalayas.[8][9][10] Land has been secured in Gangotri, India, for a museum dedicated to his rare Himalayan photos and documentation of the Himalayan Glaciers with a special emphasis on environmental protection of the region.
  • Jaime Viñals First Central American person to climb Mount Everest.[11]
  • Casey Mackins An English mountaineer who climbed Mt Everest by a new route without oxygen from Tibet in 1984 and then again from Nepal in 1990 during his famous Sea to Summit expedition where he became the first person to climb Everest starting from sea level
  • José Antonio Delgado Sucre(1965–2006) was the first Venezuelan mountaineer to reach the summit of five eight-thousanders. He was one of the most experienced climbers in Latin America. He was born in Caracas, Venezuela.
  • Ed Viesturs (b. June 22, 1959) is the first American, and 12th person overall, to summit all fourteen eight-thousanders, and the sixth climber to do it without bottled oxygen.
  • Pemba Dorjie (born c. 1977) a Sherpa who currently holds the world record for the quickest climb to the summit of Mount Everest from camp. On May 21, 2004 Dorjie set that record, with a total time of 8 hours and 10 minutes.
  • Apa Sherpa (born c. 1960) On May 21, 2009, successfully summited Mt. Everest for the 19th time, breaking his own record for most successful ascents.
  • Krzysztof Wielicki (born 1950) Polish mountaineer, the fifth man to climb all fourteen eight-thousanders. Three of them (Mount Everest, Kangchenjunga and Lhotse) he ascended as the first man ever to do it in winter.
  • Bear Grylls (born 1974) Youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest
  • Mandip Singh Soin (born 1957) Indian mountaineer, India's Most Versatile Adventurer only Indian to receive the NESS Award by the Royal Geographical Society, UK.

Religion

The Taktshang Monastery, also known as the "Tiger's Nest"

Several places in the Himalaya are of religious significance in Hinduism and Buddhism. In Hinduism, the Himalaya have also been personified as the god Himavat, the father of Shiva's consort, Parvati.

Some of the important religious places in the Himalayas are:-

In addition to the above, a number of Tibetan Buddhist sites are situated in the Himalaya, including the residence of the Dalai Lama. There were over 6,000 monasteries in Tibet.[12] The Tibetan Muslims had their own mosques in Lhasa and Shigatse.[13]

The following mystic entities are associated with the Himalayas:

  • The Yeti is one of the most famous creatures in cryptozoology. It is a large primate-like creature that is supposed to live in the Himalaya. Most mainstream scientists and experts consider current evidence of the Yeti's existence unpersuasive, and the result of hoaxes, legend or misidentification of mundane creatures.
  • Shambhala is a mystical city with various legends associated with it, it is one of twenty-four Himalayan hidden realms, or beyul, in Vajrayana Buddhism.[14] While some legends consider it to be a real city where secret Buddhist doctrines are being preserved, other legends believe that the city does not physically exist, and can only be reached in the mental realm.
«Tibet. Himalayas», 1933
Nicholas Roerich

The Himalayas in art, literature, and film

See also

References

  1. ^ Himalayan Mountain System. http://books.google.com/books?id=4q_XoMACOxkC&pg=PA25&lpg=PA23&dq=%22South+Tibet+Valley%22&output=html&sig=cplbaHyY4CGV0ogUvw0NT8o0EfM. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  2. ^ "Sunderbans the world’s largest delta". gits4u.com. http://www.gits4u.com/wb/wb6a.htm. 
  3. ^ Gaillardet, J; Métivier, Lemarchand, Dupré, Allégre, Li, Zhao (2003). "Geochemistry of the Suspended Sediments of Circum-Himalayan Rivers and Weathering Budgets over the Last 50 Myrs" (PDF). Geophysical Research Abstracts 5 (13617). http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EAE03/13617/EAE03-J-13617.pdf. Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  4. ^ "Vanishing Himalayan Glaciers Threaten a Billion". Planet Ark. June 5, 2007. http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/42387/story.htm. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  5. ^ "Glaciers melting at alarming speed". People's Daily Online. July 24, 2007. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90781/90879/6222327.html. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  6. ^ http://pulitzercenter.typepad.com/untold_stories/south-asias-troubled-waters/page/2/
  7. ^ a b "Edelweiss trekking, mountaineering, rafting, safari cultural and pilgrimage tours in Nepal". http://www.edelweisstreks.com/mteverest.php. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  8. ^ United Nations, May 2007, Our Planet magazine
  9. ^ Personal Time with Swami-ji, 157 mins Film, The Center for Healing Arts [1]
  10. ^ Himalaya: Through the Lens of a Sudu Published August 2001 ISBN 81-901326-0-1
  11. ^ Neira, Claudia (July 2002). "Faith that moves mountains". IDBAmerica Online. http://www.iadb.org/idbamerica/index.cfm?thisid=629. 
  12. ^ Tibetan monks: A controlled life. BBC News. March 20, 2008.
  13. ^ Mosques in Lhasa, Tibet. People's Daily Online. October 27, 2005.
  14. ^ Levine, Norma (1993). Blessing Power of the Buddhas: Sacred Objects, Secret Lands. Element Books. pp. 132. ISBN 1-85230-305-0. 

Further reading

  • Aitken, Bill, Footloose in the Himalaya, Delhi, Permanent Black, 2003. ISBN 81-7824-052-1
  • Berreman, Gerald Duane, Hindus of the Himalayas: Ethnography and Change, 2nd rev. ed., Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Bisht, Ramesh Chandra, Encyclopedia of the Himalayas, New Delhi, Mittal Publications, c2008.
  • Everest, the IMAX movie (1998). ISBN 0-7888-1493-1
  • Fisher, James F., Sherpas: Reflections on Change in Himalayan Nepal, 1990. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1990. ISBN 0520069412
  • Gansser, Augusto, Gruschke, Andreas, Olschak, Blanche C., Himalayas. Growing Mountains, Living Myths, Migrating Peoples, New York, Oxford: Facts On File, 1987. ISBN 0816019940 and New Delhi: Bookwise, 1987.
  • Gupta, Raj Kumar, Bibliography of the Himalayas, Gurgaon, Indian Documentation Service, 1981
  • Hunt, John, Ascent of Everest, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1956. ISBN 0-89886-361-9
  • Isserman, Maurice and Weaver, Stewart, Fallen Giants: The History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes. Yale University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0300115017
  • Ives, Jack D. and Messerli, Bruno, The Himalayan Dilemma: Reconciling Development and Conservation. London / New York, Routledge, 1989. ISBN 0415011574
  • Lall, J.S. (ed.) in association with Moddie, A.D., The Himalaya, Aspects of Change. Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1981. ISBN 019561254X
  • Nandy, S.N., Dhyani, P.P. and Samal, P.K., Resource Information Database of the Indian Himalaya, Almora, GBPIHED, 2006.
  • Palin, Michael, Himalaya, London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson Illustrated, 2004. ISBN 0-297-84371-0
  • Swami Sundaranand, Himalaya: Through the Lens of a Sadhu. Published by Tapovan Kuti Prakashan (August 2001). ISBN 81-901326-0-1
  • Swami Tapovan Maharaj, Wanderings in the Himalayas, English Edition, Madras, Chinmaya Publication Trust, 1960. Translated by T.N. Kesava Pillai.
  • Tilman, H. W., Mount Everest, 1938, Cambridge University Press, 1948.
  • ‘The Mighty Himalaya: A Fragile Heritage,’ National Geographic, 174:624-631(November 1988).

External links

Image gallery

Coordinates: 28°00′N 82°00′E / 28°N 82°E / 28; 82


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

This article is an itinerary.

The Himalayas seen from the International Space Station
The Himalayas seen from the International Space Station

The Himalaya are a range of mountains in Asia, most correctly defined as stretching from the Indus river in Pakistan, through India, Nepal, Bhutan, ending at the Bramaputra River in India. This is often extended to include the Karakoram, the Hindu Kush, and other minor ranges extending from the Pamir Knot, as these mountains are continuous with the Himalaya proper, and the geographical difference makes no difference for the traveller, we follow this convention here. This region includes the 14 highest mountains in the world, and over 100 peaks over 7200m.

Prepare

If you are not planning to do any trekking, then you will not need any special equipment, or even warm clothing as you will be able to pick up good warm clothing on entry to the region. If you do need warm clothes, don't miss the second-hand markets selling attire from wealthy nations.

If you are trekking, the equipment you will need depends on your destination, in most of Nepal you will need nothing more than a sleeping bag and a pair of boots; the Indian Himalaya offer a large number of routes that are possible to trek independently if you have a tent, stove, and all the equipment needed for unsupported trekking.

Get in

Most parts of the Himalaya are connected to the plains to the south, by bus and airplane.

Understand

The Himalaya are a home to a diverse number of people, languages, and religions. Generally speaking Islam is prevalent in the west, Hinduism in the southern ranges of the eastern Himalaya, and Buddhism in the northern ranges of the western Himalaya. While there are numerous languages spoken, Hindi/Urdu (when written, they are two totally different languages, when spoken they are nearly interchangeable) will take you very far, as it is understood by the majority in the Pakistani, and Indian Himalaya. In Nepal it's not very useful, but it does have significant overlap with Nepali, and as such gives you a head start with that language.

Regions

Pakistan

The northern Areas of Pakistan offers some of the most visually stunning parts of the Himalaya. The trekking in Northern areas is arduous, seldom without glacier crossings, and not for the inexperienced, or unprepared. Local law, and good sense, prohibit trekking without a local guide on most routes. As such it is one of the more costly parts of the Himalaya for trekking. The people in this area, while being almost entirely mulslim, are diverse, with numerous languages, and different types of Islam followed--some highly conservative, some noticeably liberal.

This highway leads North from Pakistan into Western China.

  • Pakistan occupied Kashmir

Some parts of Pakistan occupied Kashmir is off limit for foreigners especially the buffer zone (India-Pakistan line of control), due to the ongoing conflict with India.

This is a very conservative, largely tribal area, much of which would be unwise for tourists to visit, Peshawar is an exception to this, and is an fascinating, accessable look at a Pashtoon city.

India

Picturesque forested mountains, this was a popular destination with travelers until the conflict escalation between Pakistan and India. While Srinagar is reasonable safe, don't spend time in the country-side. Ladakh is the important exception to this. Offering much in the way of sight-seeing, and trekking it's not to be missed.

A pleasant, laid back, predominantly Hindu state, with a Tibetan Refugee population; popular with Tourists.

Another state of India, the source of the Ganges, it has a number of pilgrimage sites.

Wedged between, Nepal, Bhutan, China and West Bengal, Sikkim was predominately Buddhist until the 19th century, when numerous Nepalis came. As such there are many, Buddhist monasteries, and related sights. Trekking here is limited due to the closeness of the border with China. You must take a guide and go as a group, there are very limited number of routes.

Seldom visited by tourist, this state is a fascinating mix, with a large tribal population, people follow, Animist, Hindu, Buddhist, and Baptist Christian religous traditions.

Nepal

A major tourist destination, with numerous sightseeing, trekking, and other adventure sport opportunities, Nepal has a level of tourist specific infrastructure far in advance of anywhere else in the region. Here you can trek for a month and stay in guest houses every night, and need not carry more than a change of clothes or two, and your sleeping bag. Nepal has unfortunately been suffering from a Revolutionary Maoist uprising making the country less than safe.

Bhutan

A fascinating little kingdom, Bhutan only issues visas to tourists on expensive group tours or to individuals who benefit the country, i.e. NGO workers, or exchange students.

See

Most sights relate to the mountains themselves, and to religious structures, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist. Many of the most popular destinations are sights in themselves.

Do

Trekking is the most popular activity, with a wide selection of possibilities, from desserts to jungles. It's also popular to study Yoga or Meditation. White Water Rafting is popular in many places

  • Altitude sickness is a worry, with many of the passes in the Himalaya being over 5000m. Increase your elevation as slowly as possible, avoid flying from a low elevation to a high one, and physical activity; and drink lots of liquids after gaining altitude. Altitude sickness is unpredictable, and may strike people who haven't had problems before. Give yourself lots of flexibility in your plans, to avoid pushing yourself higher when you need to rest.
  • Stay up to date with the news, and be willing to change your plans, when going to places such as Kashmir or Nepal, that are facing armed uprisings.
  • Traffic on the narrow roads is often frightening, but due to the slow speeds is unlikely to result in fatalities.

Get out

Flights out of the Himalayas are often cancelled due to bad weather, be sure to give yourself at least a few days before needing to catch a connecting flight.

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Wikipedia

Contents

English

Etymology

From Sanskrit हिमालय (himā-laya), abode of snow), from हिम (himá), frost, snow) + आलय (ā-laya), house, abode, dwelling).

Proper noun

Himalayas

  1. A mountain range of south-central Asia extending about 2,414 km (1,500 mi) through Kashmir, northern India, southern Xizang (Tibet), Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan; includes nine of the world’s ten highest peaks, including Mount Everest.

Translations

Synonyms


Simple English

[[File:|thumb|230px|Himalayas from the International Space Station, looking south from over the Tibetan Plateau. The perspective is illustrated by the summits of Makalu [left (8,462 metres; 27,765 feet)], Everest [middle (8,848 metres; 29,035 feet)] , Lhotse [middle (8,516 metres; 27,939 feet)] and Cho Oyu [right (8,201 metres; 26,906 feet)] -- at the heights typically flown by commercial aircraft.]]

The Himalayas are a mountain range in Asia, the highest in the world.

They are north within Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir, into the Republic of India's Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal states, State of Nepal, and the Kingdoms of Sikkim, and Bhutan; then into South Tibet.

The 15 highest mountains in the world are in the Himalayas. The main ones are the Mount Everest, K2, Annapurna, and Nanga Parbat. Mount Everest is the tallest mountain on the face of the Earth. Mount Everest is 8,849 meters.There are over 100 mountains and the base is 20,643 ft above sea level. Of the fifteen highest mountain peaks in the World, nine of them are contained within the Nepal Himalayas.

The word "Himalaya" means House of Snow in Sanskrit, an old Indian language. The Himalayas are so high that they kept the Indian and Chinese people separate from each other most of the time. In fact, India is a peninsula that is cut off from the rest of Asia by the mountains. India is often called a sub-continent because it has water on three sides and mountains on the fourth.

North of the Himalayas is the Tibetan Plateau. It is called “the roof of the world”. However, the Tibetan Plateau is very dry because the plateau and the mountains act as a gigantic rain shadow.

The Yak is mostly seen in the cold desert.[1]

Contents

Wild life

The Himalayas is very popular for tourists because it has a lot of wild life. The mountains and variety of forests help wildlife to live and produce successfully in it. The types of plants and trees, which are common in the place, are Oak, Pine, Fir, Rhododendron, Birch, Juniper, and Deodar. Common animals, which are seen mostly in the different parts of the Himalayas, are snow leopard, blue sheep, musk deer, tigers, elephants, wild boar, and crocodiles. Even endangered species of animals and plants are also able to find there. In the north part of the Himalayas where the temperature falls below freezing point, animals cannot survive well. However, those who adapted can survive. During the cold winters most of the animals migrate to the lower regions of the Himalayas while others like the brown bear hibernate instead. They are like wild ox and they are the largest animals in this region. In regions of Ladakh animals like Nyan, the wild and the most largest sheep and urial are found.[2]

Some of the major places for wildlife attractions in the Himalayas are:

  • Jim Corbett National Park
  • Namdhpha National Park
  • The Royal Chitwan Park
  • Kaziranga National Park
  • Royal Bardia National Park
  • Great Himalayan National Park

Five main rivers

The five main rivers of the Himalayas are the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej. The Himalayas is the birthplace of many important rivers. The rivers are the main source of human and animal life in those areas.[2]

Jhelum River

The river Jhelum came from a spring called Verinag, which is 80 km south of Srinagar. It is known world wide for its nine bridges. It is a very wide river and the water is quite muddy.[2]

Chenab River

The two rivers Chandra and Bhaga come together to form the Chenab River. The Chenab is in the Lahaul region of Himachal Pradesh. It came from the melted snow that was on the foot of the main range of Himalaya in the Spiti and Lahaul district. The lake of Chandra Tal also comes from these rivers.

Ravi River

With this river lots of love legends have come. The town of Chamba is on a mountain shelf on the right bank of the river. The region is famous for handicrafts like embroidered handkerchiefs, silver and leather craft and woodcarving.[2]

Beas River

The valley of Kullu and Kangra is formed by river Beas. The main force of this river is from the south of Larji.[2] There it enters the Mandi district and further still into Kangra. Its water increases to a great extent during the monsoon season so much so that it causes floods in the villages around it. The Pong Dam is made on the river to get hydroelectric power supply. At a place called Pandoh in the Mandi district the water of the Beas River have been diverted through a 53 km long tunnel to the Sutlej.[2]

Sutlej River

River Sutlej comes from the southern slopes of the mountain Kailash, near the lake of Mansarovar. It flows parallel to the Himalayas and in the end goes to the Shipki pass. It cuts through the Zanskar range, and makes a deep well part at the base of the Kinner Kailash.

References

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